Current Issues in US Health Economics - Colin Cameron

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Current Issues in U.S. Health Economics:
Summary for Health Economics Course (ECN 132)
Colin Cameron
Department of Economics U.C. Davis
http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/cameron
Revised December 2016
• The health care industry can benefit greatly from economic analysis,
especially microeconomic analysis.
• More than many other areas of economics this theory needs to be modified
or extended to accommodate institutional features.
• In particular health consumers are buying a product they know little about
(information) with someone else's money (third-party payment) due to
insurance (uncertainty).
• The big current issues always include the increasing cost of health care.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
A. Overview of U.S. Health Market
B. Health Insurance in the U.S.
C. Theory of Health Insurance
D. Economic Evaluation of Health Services
E. Individual Demand for Health
F. Providers (Physicians, Hospitals, Pharmaceuticals)
G. Government
H. Medical Technology
I. International Comparisons.
2
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
3
A. Overview of U.S. Health Market
Total expenditures in 2014
• $3,030 billion
• $9,500 per capita (Based on population of 316 million)
• 17.5% of GDP
(Based on GDP of $17,300 billion).
Use of Funds
• The big three (hospital, physician, drugs&products) are 64% of total.
Source of Funds
• 55% public and 45% private.
• Only 11% is out-of-pocket. Third payment is key feature of health market.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
4
Trends since 1900
• Expenditure risen dramatically and continuously and forecast to continue.
• Dramatic switch away from out-of-pocket payment to insurance.
• Hospital days little changed but costs much larger as more labor-intensive.
• More physician visits but smaller share of pie.
• Drugs decreased but now increasing share of pie.
• Nursing home care and home health care are growth areas.
• Health care expenditures have risen everywhere in the world. The U.S. has
the largest expenditures because of higher base and higher growth rates.
Future
• Pressures exist for continued increase. Forecast 20.0% of GDP in 2020.
• At same time U.S. is a real outlier and radical change is possible.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
5
Use of Funds in 2014
Category % of Total Trend since 1960 Biggest Issues
Hospital
32
Static
Managed care; technology
Physician & clinical 20
Static
Managed care; physician income
Drugs & Supplies 13
Up
Formularies; technology
Other professional 11
Nursing Home
5
Up
Home Health
3
Up
Administration costs 7
Up
Standardization
Public Health
3
Up
Research
2
Down
Switch from government to private
Construction
4
Total
100
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
6
Source of Funds in 2014
Category
% of Total
Biggest Issues
Public (55%)
Medicare
22
Insolvency; consumer choice; drugs
Medicaid
17
States; managed care; elderly poor; children
Other public
15
Private (45%)
Private insurance 31
Employers providing less; reaching uninsured;
Future of Obamacare.
Out-of-pocket
11
Other private
4
Total
100
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
7
B. Health Insurance in the U.S.
General Principles
• Risk-pooling is the reason insurance works.
• Risk-aversion is the reason consumers purchase insurance.
• Adverse-selection can lead to failure of insurance markets
• Moral hazard can lead to welfare loss due to excess consumption of health
services (Paully, and Manning et al RAND study).
Health Insurance Terminology
• Copayment – a lump sum paid by insured per service e.g. $20
• Coinsurance – a percentage paid by insured per service e.g. 10%
• Deductible – an annual amount paid before any insurance cover
e.g. $2,000
• Premia – the price of a health insurance policy.
• Pre-existing conditions – health conditions that may not be covered.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
8
Rand Health Insurance Experiment
• The RAND study in the late 1970’s randomly gave individuals
health insurance policies with varying coinsurance rates.
• Finds that demand for medical services responds to price.
• Arc price elasticity ranged from 0.1 to 0.2.
Health Insurance Coverage
• Much insurance is employment-related or government provided.
• 33 million in 2011 or 10% were not covered by insurance.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Types of Health Insurance
• FFS – Fee for service
- insured has great choice of treatment and provider
- now disappeared but was dominant until 1990’s.
• HMO – health maintenance organization
- restricted choice of treatment and provider
- introduced in 1980’s, peaked in 1996, much less now.
• PPO – preferred provider organization
- choice less restricted than HMO but much more than FFS.
- introduced in 1990’s, most common form now.
• HDHP – high deductible health plan
- much higher deductibles, copays than traditional HMO, PPO
- highly tax favored with health savings account (HCA) option
- introduced in mid 2000’s and increasingly popular.
9
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10
Recent Trends in Health Insurance
• Switch from indemnity FFS to managed care (PPO and HMO).
• Percentage uninsured up in early 1990’s, down in late 1990’s, rising in
2000’s again.
• Obama’s Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014, including insurance
exchanges, individual mandates, no pre-existing conditions exclusions.
Future
• Insurance is a key choice variable of consumers and is price-responsive.
• Movement to encourage insurance with higher copays and use of medical
savings accounts to permit tax deductibility of out-of-pocket payments.
• Access to insurance for those not covered by government or employer
insurance plans.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
11
Managed Care Quality and Quantity
• Very fast growth with indemnity insurance essentially eliminated.
• Recent anecdotal criticisms of access to care (quality and quantity) have
led to actual reduction in HMO, so PPO is now dominant in much of U.S.
• Studies indicate much of the care in managed care is good (Miller and
Luft).
• Based on difference-in-means tests.
Costs
• One-time cost savings of 10-20 % (controlling for favorable selection into
HMOs).
• Trend then appears to be same as non-managed care.
• High costs relative to premia has led to failure of managed care
companies.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
12
• Test Difference between two means (e.g. for FFS versus HMO)
HMO
FFS
Then
X1
X2
= 0.75
= 0.80
s X 1 = 0.02
s X 2 = 0.01
t = ( X 1 - X 2 ) / sqrt(s X 12 + s X 22 )
= (0.75 – 0.80) / sqrt(0.022 + 0.012)
= - 0.05 / sqrt (0.0005) = - 0.05 / 0.02236
= - 2.236
Since |t| = 2.236 > 1.96 we reject H0: μ₁= μ₂.
Conclude that there is a statistically significant difference at 5%.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
13
Government Insurance: Medicare
• For those aged over 65 + disabled + end-point renal disease.
• Established in 1965 (parts A (hospital) & B (physician & outpatient)
• Federal program funded by payroll tax
• More recently Parts C (advantage) and D (pharmaceuticals) added
Government Insurance: Medicaid
•
•
•
•
For those poor
Established in 1965
Federal / state program financed out of general revenue
Includes nursing home for elderly (not covered by Medicare)
Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)
•
•
•
•
Large employers must provide insurance to workers or face penalty
Medicaid expanded to cover more poor people
Health exchanges created for private purchase of insurance
All people must have insurance and no exclude on preexisting conditions.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
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C. Theory of Health Insurance
General Principles
• Risk-pooling is the reason insurance works.
• Risk-aversion is the reason consumers purchase insurance.
• Adverse-selection can lead to failure of insurance markets
• Moral hazard can lead to welfare loss due to excess consumption of health
services (Paully, and Manning et al RAND study).
Risk Pooling
• Given n independent individuals with loss X with mean µ and variance σ2
• For the average E[ X ] = µ
- standard deviation is S.D.[ X ] = σ / n1/2
- and 95% of time average claim is in range E[ X ] ± 2 x S.D.[ X ]
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Risk-aversion
15
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Moral hazard
• RAND HIS provided estimate of price elasticity of demand.
• Moral hazard in simplest case (RAND more complicated)
16
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Tradeoff between moral hazard and risk reduction
• Prefer bottom right so I3 best then I2 then I1.
• No moral hazard. Highest indiff. curve gives F: full insurance.
With moral hazard: increasing premium per unit of coverage with
level of insurance. Now at A: partial insurance.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
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Adverse Selection
• Arises if there is a difference between those who buy insurance
(high-risk where high-risk here means large average claims) and
those who do not (low-risk).
• Can lead to an insurance death spiral.
• Akerlof’s markets for lemons illustrates the problem.
• Asymmetric information
- car sellers know value of the car
- car buyers do not know the value so believe it is at most the
posted price (the price the sellers are willing to sell it for).
• Adapted to health insurance
- consumers know their health expenses
- health insurance companies do not.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Health Care Systems across countries
• Beveridge model – single-payer insurance and govt. provision
• Bismarck model – universal health insurance (possibly private)
and private provision but with price controls
• American model – no universal insurance and mostly private
provision with little price control.
19
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20
D. Economic Evaluation of Health Services
Cost Benefit Analysis
• Tool used by economists.
• Replace demand and supply curves by social marginal benefit and social
marginal cost curves. At optimum MB = MC.
• Sixth stool GUAIAC test (Neuhauser and Lewicki) shows importance of
using marginal analysis.
Cost Effectiveness Analysis
• Avoid putting $ value on benefits by considering costs per unit of benefit.
• Life-years saved is often the unit of benefit.
• Quality-adjusted years of life (QALY) brings in benefit via backdoor.
Future
• Economic evaluation should be used much more in the U.S.
• Pharmaco-economics leading the way.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
21
E. Users (Individual Demand for Health)
Grossman Model of Health Demand
• Utility depends on health stock (H) rather than health services per se.
• Health capital is in turn produced by medical inputs (m).
• Utility: U = U(x, H) + Health prodn: H = H(m) + Budget: I = x + pmm
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
22
Grossman Model over Time
• Use marginal efficiency of capital (MEC) curve
• Lifetime return from a marginal health investment in health at any
level of health stock H
• At optimum MEC = market interest rate + health depreciation rate.
•
•
•
•
•
Individual Demand
m = f(price, coins. rate, time price, px, income, health status, age, educn)
Price elasticity of health is low. E.g. RAND experiment: -0.17 to -0.22.
Income elasticity of health is low but positive. So health is a normal good.
Health demand is responsive to the time cost.
Future
• The primary consumer choice is the health insurance policy, not inputs
given the policy. This is changing with increased deductibles.
• So health insurance choice is the key part of consumer demand.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
23
F1. Physicians
Physician Quality and Quantity
• Physician quality is viewed as very high (after Flexner 1910 report).
• Physician quantity is viewed as adequate to high
Physician Income
• Very high.
• In 2016 median physician income was $215,000 (Primary care) and
$260,000 (specialist).
• Human capital investment explains part, but high rate of return of 15-20%.
• Licensing (to ensure quality) explains some of this high return.
• Third party payment (insurance) explains some of this high return.
• Physician-induced demand may explain some of this high return.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
24
F2. Hospitals
Quality and Quantity
• Quality viewed as high (big shift from hospice to acute care since 1930.)
• Quantity is adequate with some excess capacity.
Costs
• In real 2009$ costs per patient day up from $100 in 1950 to $330 in 1970
to $1800 in 2009.
• Much of this increase due to higher staffing levels and greater technology.
Prices
• Hospital markets in U.S. are highly concentrated with HHI = 0.33
• Hospitals charge wildly different prices to different customers with
different types of insurance (or no insurance).
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
25
F3. Pharmaceutical Drugs
Quality and Quantity
• Quality is high.
• Quantity is too low for some people as 18% of prescription costs paid outof-pocket.
• 2006 Medicare Part D expansion to cover prescription drugs for elderly.
Costs
• Viewed as excessive when patented, but patents needed to encourage R &
D.
• Viewed as reasonable after patent has run out.
• Formularies are recent attempt to discourage use of high cost drugs.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
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Future
• Potentially explosive area.
• New drug prices are rising much more than economy-wide prices.
• Consumers may demand access to better drugs due to liberalization of
advertising to consumers.
• Consumers may be more selective in drug choice, preferring cheaper
substitutes.
• Medicaid and other government will surely consider use of formularies.
• Few recent blockbuster drugs.
• Genomic revolution may lead to many discoveries.
• These are often biologics which are more difficult to become generic.
• Pharmaco-economics will increasingly evaluate cost-effectiveness of
alternative drugs.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Drug Pricing in Different Markets
27
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
28
F4. Bonus: Long-Term Care (LTC)
• LTC is for people needing care but not in hospital.
• Nursing home quantity adequate in some states and inadequate in others.
• Part of problem is medical system is geared to acute not long-term care.
Costs
• Not viewed as being excessive as much labor is nurses and lower-skilled.
• Concern that expanding nursing home and home health care will substitute
for currently "free" family care.
Future
• Growth in elderly potentially explosive.
• Impacts depend on change in average length of time per person in nursing
home.
• Growth pressures Medicaid which pays half nursing home costs (little
discussed).
• Home health care appears to be under-utilized to date.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
29
G. Government
General Principles
• Major reasons for government involvement in economy are
- public goods: e.g. information (NIH)
- externalities: e.g. infectious diseases
- monopoly
- market failure: e.g. Medicare as insurance market for > 65’s would fail
- equity: e.g. Medicaid
Quality and Quantity
• Despite preference for private provision, government pays for half of
health care.
• Medicare viewed as good quality and good quantity aside from drugs.
• Medicaid is viewed as low quality and quantity due to low reimbursement
rates and failure to include the working poor.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
30
Costs
• Medicaid very aggressive on costs with low reimbursements and managed
care.
• And Medicaid also tight on nursing homes (half of Medicaid costs).
• But big problem for state budgets.
• Medicare less aggressive but leader in DRGs etc. and does not provide
drugs.
• Medicare predicted to run out trust fund within ten years.
Future
• Medicaid managed care and more help to those leaving welfare.
• Obama reforms will extend Medicaid to more low-income people.
• Medicare is the big problem down the line.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Public goods
31
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
Externality (positive in consumption)
32
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
33
H. Medical Technology
• Big reason for increased health expenditures is doctors can do more.
• Cutler and McClellan (2001) consider five medical innovations
(treatments for heart attack, low birthweight infant, depression, cataracts
and breast cancer) and find all but last clearly have MB > MC.
• No doubt that overall net benefit to improved health technology.
• But there may be inefficient use of some technologies as there is
considerable small area variation in practice styles. E.g. C-sections.
Based on big coefficient of variation across regions.
• New medical technology will be a big reason (the biggest?) for further
increased expenditures.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
34
I. International Comparisons
Quality and Quantity
• Most wealthy countries viewed as having reasonable quality and quantity.
• U.S. viewed as best quality and quantity for all but poorest individuals.
• Yet measured outcomes - life expectancy and infant mortality - poor for
the U.S. compared to other developed countries
• The real action is in poor countries versus developed countries.
Costs
• All countries feel pressure.
• But only the U.S. has experienced such high growth rates.
Future
• Health will creep up as fraction of GDP since health is superior good.
• Other developed countries’ systems are radically different from U.S. This
suggests radical change is possible here.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
35
J. Obesity Not covered in Fall 2016
•
•
•
•
•
Example of unhealthy habits.
More recent phenomenon than smoking and excess drinking.
Obesity doubled from 15% in 1980 to 30% today.
Associated especially with increased diabetes.
Sturm (2002) compares to other risk factors and finds obesity has health
impact similar to aging from 30 to 50 years and more than smoking and
drinking.
• Chou, Grossman and Saffer (2004) use data on individuals over time and
suggest that a big reason for increase in obesity / BMI is more restaurants.
Colin Cameron: Health Economics Summary
36
Sources
• Current notes: Jay Bhattacharya, Timothy Hyde and Peter Tu: Health
Economics, First edition, Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.
• Older notes: Thomas E. Getzen, Health Economics: Health Economics
and Financing, 4th Edition, Wiley, 2010 is an accessible text.
• Health Affairs is best current accessible journal for health economics.
• NEJM and JAMA have some good material but for economic policy it can
be slanted towards government intervention.
• NEJM in early 1999 had excellent eight-part series on The American
Health Care System.
• State of the art economics best source is NBER working papers
(www.nber.org).

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